The Magic Caf
Username:
Password:
[ Lost Password ]
  [ Forgot Username ]
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Food for thought » » Which is it? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Josh Chaikin
View Profile
Inner circle
Kansas City
1430 Posts

Profile of Josh Chaikin
We're told that most people have never seen a magician live before, and even fewer have seen good magic. However, we're also told that we should stay away from stock lines and effects so laymen don't go around thinking that all magicians are the same.

If so few people have seen magic live, even fewer will have seen multiple magicians live. If that's the case, how would this be an issue?

Two magicians doing the same rope act, with a different script, or a different rope act with the same gags will do a whole lot less damage than one bad magician.

Which is it?
Jaz
View Profile
Inner circle
NJ, U.S.
6111 Posts

Profile of Jaz
IMO stating that "most people have never seen a magician live before" is true..to an extent. I believe that more have seen live stage and parlor than close up and mentalism.
When I was a layperson I saw live stage magicians but never a Close Up act. In this case I think very few laypeople actually have.

Honestly, I don't see that stock tricks and using some stock lines are much of an issue.
If anyone is doing this, and newbies will, it's certainly better to eventually work out a style and lines of thier own.
Jonathan Townsend
View Profile
Eternal Order
Ossining, NY
27242 Posts

Profile of Jonathan Townsend
If you are truly playing a "generic" character - go ahead and use the stock lines.

If you are truly just starting to perform a routine you got from a book - by all means use as much stock material as you can and listen for what works for you.

Once you find your own character through which the audience can enjoy the magic you will likely find most of the 'stock' lines are just tapemarks on the stage rather than a script.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
Josh Chaikin
View Profile
Inner circle
Kansas City
1430 Posts

Profile of Josh Chaikin
Interesting perspective, now I don't feel so bad about using them now and again. Smile
evolve629
View Profile
Inner circle
A stack of
3838 Posts

Profile of evolve629
Maven's quote "I do not care if they believe what I do is real, just as long as they know it is not easy".
One hundred percent of the shots you don't take don't go in - Wayne Gretzky
My favorite part is putting the gaffs in the spectators hands...it gives you that warm fuzzy feeling inside! - Bob Kohler
tommy
View Profile
Eternal Order
Devil’s Island
16363 Posts

Profile of tommy
That is probably true but it ain’t necessarily so, since the few might be magic fans who have see a lot of magic. I am as few as one who has seen many.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
Josh Chaikin
View Profile
Inner circle
Kansas City
1430 Posts

Profile of Josh Chaikin
Evolve, could you elaborate a little? It doesn't matter if they've heard the joke before or not, as long as they know the act isn't easy, is that what you're saying?
Michael Baker
View Profile
Eternal Order
Near a river in the Midwest
11176 Posts

Profile of Michael Baker
Magicians create their own demons... familiarity breeding contempt, and all that. Audiences regenerate themselves faster than we ever could do so to ourselves. The world's oldest joke can still be funny, if you've never heard it. Consider the tried and true to be "classic", rather than "stock", and you'll gain a whole new appreciation for the genius that gave birth to them.
~michael baker
The Magic Company
Greg Arce
View Profile
Inner circle
6684 Posts

Profile of Greg Arce
Well, I would think you would feel a bit better doing something you've created completely, but it is probably true that most people will only see you and you can get away with it.

Now, what I've noticed is that many get so used to doing stock lines and routines that they'll go to the Magic Castle and do them there. It's chilling to sit in audience where the group goes from room to room and ends up hearing the same jokes and seeing the same routines.

You would hope that some create original routines they can do in such an occasion, but it probably becomes second nature to them and they assume they are being original when all they are doing is mimicking others.

If you want to hear a collection of stock lines, Xeroxed routines and guys doing the same bits then go to the Castle one night and prepare to wince.

Greg
One of my favorite quotes: "A critic is a legless man who teaches running."
The Burnaby Kid
View Profile
Inner circle
St. John's, Canada
3157 Posts

Profile of The Burnaby Kid
My own view is that, as artists, we have an obligation to be original. I'd even go so far as to say that we're doing a disservice to the art form whenever we use an unoriginal line or presentation, even if it would play stronger than something original that we dream up.

It's probably worth mentioning that this is a minority view here in the Food For Thought section. Whit Haydn's argument against originality is probably the most well-known offering in the debate as it applies to magic. It's worth reading -- I strongly disagree with it in principle, but I cannot fault the logic.

In any case, one can survive a lack of originality so long as there is sincerity. In fiction, for instance, there's a limited number of plot paradigms available. Originality is achieved not through coming up with a new plot, but by taking an established plot and using authentic elements within them. The originality, therefore, isn't so much in what happens, but how it happens and who it's happening to. There are shades of gray here, but what that means is that several people can say a given line, and it will mean slightly different things depending upon who's saying it. So long as the line doesn't feel like a line, you're safe.
JACK, the Jolly Almanac of Card Knavery, a free card magic resource for beginners.
Michael Baker
View Profile
Eternal Order
Near a river in the Midwest
11176 Posts

Profile of Michael Baker
Quote:
On 2008-10-13 01:44, Greg Arce wrote:
Well, I would think you would feel a bit better doing something you've created completely, but it is probably true that most people will only see you and you can get away with it.


Ideally, yes. But, there is a reason why the works of Shakespeare, Mozart and other artistic geniuses continue to get performed.

Quote:
Now, what I've noticed is that many get so used to doing stock lines and routines that they'll go to the Magic Castle and do them there. It's chilling to sit in audience where the group goes from room to room and ends up hearing the same jokes and seeing the same routines.

You would hope that some create original routines they can do in such an occasion, but it probably becomes second nature to them and they assume they are being original when all they are doing is mimicking others.


It seems likely that they don't fully understand the venue they are playing. See below...

Quote:
If you want to hear a collection of stock lines, Xeroxed routines and guys doing the same bits then go to the Castle one night and prepare to wince.




I'm sure this is true, but for the sake of this topic, this is a biased perspective... More magicians per square foot than any other place on Earth, and audiences who regularly watch them. The saturation degree is not indicative of the norm.
~michael baker
The Magic Company
Greg Arce
View Profile
Inner circle
6684 Posts

Profile of Greg Arce
Michael, I don't think the Shakespeare analogy is valid here. Everyone understands that when we see an actor he is merely reciting words that were written for him. In the case of a magician the audience believes and expects that he is being original.

I'll give you a real life example: I had to do a pitch to a major TV production company. When I explained that some of the guys on TV used other people's ideas they were truly shocked. They believed that those guys were creating original ideas. I think most people seeing a magician believe they are doing something new and that is original to them.

As for my reference to the Castle, I merely was showing that these magicians are so used to doing stock lines and other people's material that they don't even notice that they are repeating things the audience is seeing from one show to another. It shows that they don't even have enough material to take out the unoriginal stuff and just put stuff they made up themselves.

Greg
One of my favorite quotes: "A critic is a legless man who teaches running."
Michael Baker
View Profile
Eternal Order
Near a river in the Midwest
11176 Posts

Profile of Michael Baker
Hi Greg,

The Shakespeare analogy should hold true in regard to presented material. Hamlet is a classic, as is the Cups & Balls. When a magician presents an effect such as The Linking Rings, it is hardly assumed that the material is original, even if many of the manuevers and jokes are. I would not agree that using complete canned patter is a good thing, although for some venues it is virtually mandatory, but a peppering of stock lines can still be enjoyed by many audiences.

Your real life example (TV prod. company) still incorporates a venue that is known for chewing up acts at a horrific rate. Even though good shows (and sometimes not so good shows)survive for a long time in replay mode through syndication (good jokes and good stories can be told many times and still be enjoyable), the industry is so huge that it must consume "new blood" continuously. It has reached a point that it hardly matters if that blood is quality or not. By the time anyone notices, it is behind us, and easily forgotten.

Of course, no one except a select group of zealots, wants to watch the same episodes of I Love Lucy, or Andy Griffith, or Seinfeld over and over again. The frequency of the replay is therefore critical. In a venue such as the Magic Castle, the possibility for frequency is so much higher than in many other venues. That is what I meant when I said the magicians did not fully understand the venue that they were playing. ("Hi, I'm Mr. Magico... darned glad to be here!") Agreed that in such cases, originality, or at least diversity is highly coveted. I would not doubt that many acts at the Castle are booked that are not ready for that venue, simply because the venue demands new acts, similarly as does television. The irony is, this comes with the built-in paradox of non-original material being presented. So, do the acts carry the burden, or should the venue assume some responsibility for creating such a scenario? It's almost like a forced Peter principle.

That aside, I hardly think though that the Magic Castle, or any television show is the average venue for magic. Most magicians work in the real world where the average audience consists of people who have rarely seen magicians, if at all. In such venues, while originality can certainly entertain them, good stock lines can, too. To these audiences, either is as fresh as a daisy.

Without entering a battle of copywrites and such things, as it is assumed that the lines in question have, by default, entered the public domain, why neglect good material just because it was told once, somewhere else? Why prevent any audience from enjoying it, too?
~michael baker
The Magic Company
Josh the Superfluous
View Profile
Inner circle
The man of
1881 Posts

Profile of Josh the Superfluous
I saw a very entertaining magician use the "trap door" line, this summer. It got a huge laugh. Go figure.

I'll be using the "No...the clean hand" gag during the second week of November. If your working in the north east United States, please refrain from using it during that time. Thank you.
What do you want in a site? "Honesty, integrity and decency." -Mike Doogan
"I hate it, I hate my ironic lovechild. I didn't even have anything to do with it" Josh #2
Greg Arce
View Profile
Inner circle
6684 Posts

Profile of Greg Arce
Michael, I agree that in the real world most can get away with doing stock lines and prewritten material. I chose not to, but that's just me.

To me it's just unfortunate that magic seems to be the only form of entertainment that trains people to just copy what others do and you'll get by. I know the argument is that artists get trained to copy the works of masters, but they do so in training not when they go out into the real world to make money.

And I've also heard the reference to money-making cover bands. As I've said before, I'd rather make money doing my own songs than just coping someone else's sets. But, once again, that's just me.

So good luck to one and all.

Greg
One of my favorite quotes: "A critic is a legless man who teaches running."
Josh the Superfluous
View Profile
Inner circle
The man of
1881 Posts

Profile of Josh the Superfluous
Quote:
On 2008-10-14 00:11, Greg Arce wrote:
...magic seems to be the only form of entertainment that trains people to just copy what others do and you'll get by...


And yet you give 2 good counter examples (go to an art fair and count the original works). I think all the arts are dominated by hacks and copiers. The ones that I remember tend to be uniquely themselves.
What do you want in a site? "Honesty, integrity and decency." -Mike Doogan
"I hate it, I hate my ironic lovechild. I didn't even have anything to do with it" Josh #2
Michael Baker
View Profile
Eternal Order
Near a river in the Midwest
11176 Posts

Profile of Michael Baker
Greg, my preferences are the same as yours. I've been doing this long enough that I have more than enough original lines to outlast me. My only point is that I think there is no harm in it being done, provided the magician is aware of the venue in which he plays.
~michael baker
The Magic Company
Pakar Ilusi
View Profile
Inner circle
5731 Posts

Profile of Pakar Ilusi
"Stock Lines"....

"Stocks" not doing too well these days....

Smile
"Dreams aren't a matter of Chance but a matter of Choice." -DC-
Justin Style
View Profile
Inner circle
2010 Posts

Profile of Justin Style
Quote:
On 2008-10-12 19:23, evolve629 wrote:
Maven's quote "I do not care if they believe what I do is real, just as long as they know it is not easy".


In that case he should be/have been a Juggler?!

Rebuilding an engine is not easy either.


hey now!
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Food for thought » » Which is it? (0 Likes)
[ Top of Page ]
All content & postings Copyright © 2001-2022 Steve Brooks. All Rights Reserved.
This page was created in 0.04 seconds requiring 5 database queries.
The views and comments expressed on The Magic Café
are not necessarily those of The Magic Café, Steve Brooks, or Steve Brooks Magic.
> Privacy Statement <

ROTFL Billions and billions served! ROTFL